How do you segment your audiences?

Internal audiences can be segmented in a number of ways. The approach you take will depend on what you’re trying to achieve – your communication objectives – and who your overall target audience is.

A good starting point is to think about the outcome you need to achieve and who can help you or block you from achieving it. Using the principles of stakeholder mapping can help you to analyse this and prioritise audiences for communications activity. You should identify those groups of people whose behaviour needs to change to achieve the outcome, those groups who will be for or against the change, groups who may benefit indirectly from the change and finally who influences them.

Stakeholder map

Stakeholder map

PDF, 820KB, 1 page

Here are some of the ways you might segment your audience:

  • Demographic information. This can include age, length of employment, location, business area, grade, diversity information, working pattern and gender. It can be useful for targeting specific information for specific groups, for example, details of a development programme aimed at black and minority ethnic staff. It also gives you a basic understanding of the make-up of the employees in your organisation.
  • Engagement levels and attitudes: The Civil Service People Survey gives us a wealth of information about our audience. This can often be mapped against other demographic data so you can understand which groups of your employees are likely to be more or less engaged and their likely attitudes. This type of segmentation is useful when creating messages and in supporting leadership teams in their communications.
  • Employee life-cycle events: Employees will have distinct needs at different stages of their employment in your organisation, for example, you might want to communicate information about childcare vouchers to staff taking maternity or paternity leave.
  • Job role: Employees in different jobs roles are likely to have different communication needs and channel preferences. For example, someone based in a contact centre is likely to have less flexibility over how they spend their time, or someone whose work frequently takes them out of the office might be less able to access the intranet then someone based in a policy team.
  • Management responsibility: A common segmentation in internal communications. Managers will often need to be briefed in advance so that they can explain issues to their team members and to answer questions.
  • Channel preference: This means grouping people according to the way they prefer to receive their communications. This understanding is helpful in communications planning or if you are undertaking a channels audit.
  • Behaviour or risk: Targeting communications according to the behaviours of specific groups, or the level of risk associated with particular segments. For example, a communications campaign around information security might target those staff who deal with customer information as its primary audience, or a campaign focused on sustainability might target people who don’t put paper waste in the recycling bins with specific messaging. This approach might not involve using channels to communicate with specific audiences directly, but using a range of messaging in your campaign.